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2023 Public Reading Schedule

For the past 36 summers, an extraordinary lineup of distinguished writers has visited the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs for a series of readings, free and open to the public.


This summer's season kicks off on Monday, June 26, with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Vijay Seshadri (3 Sections) and novelist Steve Stern (The Village Idiot).


Special events this summer include an evening of "Poetry & Jazz" at Caffe Lena, on Friday, July 7; movie screenings and discussions ("The Marquise of O" on Wednesday, June 28, and “Tár” on Wednesday, July 12); a tribute to the late Russell Banks on Wednesday, July 19; and the final event of the summer, a reading featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and NYS Writers Institute founder William Kennedy and friends on Friday, July 21.


The New York State Summer Writers Institute, an extension of the NYS Writers Institute, is led by director Robert Boyers, professor at Skidmore and editor of the Salmagundi literary magazine. and coordinated with Skidmore's Office of Special Programs.


Except where noted, the readings begin at 8 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium, Palamountain Hall on the Skidmore College campus, 815 North Broadway in Saratoga Springs.


Schedule subject to change. Please check the Skidmore College master calendar or call the NYS Summer Writers Institute at 518-580-5593.

Week 1

Monday, June 26:

Poet Vijay Seshadri (Pulitzer Prize, 3 Sections) and novelist Steve Stern (Guggenheim Fellow; The Village Idiot)

Tuesday, June 27:

Novelist Garth Greenwell (What Belongs to You; Cleanness) and poet Carl Dennis (Practical Gods)

Wednesday, June 28, 7 p.m.:

Going to the Movies with Phillip Lopate (Screening of Rohmer’s “The Marquise of O” followed by discussion)

Thursday, June 29:

Novelist Claire Messud (The Woman Upstairs; The Emperor’s Children) and memoirist Honor Moore (Our Revolution: A Mother and Daughter at Mid-Century)

Friday, June 30:

Poet Gregory Pardlo (Pulitzer Prize, Digest) and novelist/memoirist Elizabeth Benedict (Rewriting Illness: A View of My Own)


Week 2

Monday, July 3:

Memoirist Phillip Lopate (Portrait Inside My Head: Essays) and poet Campbell McGrath (Nouns & Verbs: New and Selected Poems)

Tuesday, July 4:

Novelist and Memoirist Mary Gordon (Pearl; Payback) and poet Rosanna Warren (So Forth: Poems)

Wednesday, July 5:

Poet Katha Pollitt (Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories) Panel with Mary Gordon, Robert Boyers, and Summer Writers Institute students: The Writer & The Culture of Censorship

Thursday, July 6:

Novelist Mary Gaitskill (The Mare; Veronica) & Novelist Calvin Baker (A More Perfect Reunion: Race, Integration, and The Future of America)

Friday, July 7:

Poetry & Jazz: An evening with former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and Grammy Award-winning musicians Todd Coolman (bass) & Bill Cunliffe (piano) at Caffe Lena in Saratoga Springs. Tickets:


Week 3

Monday, July 10:

Fictionist Amy Hempel (Sing to It: New Stories) and poet Chase Twichell (Things as It Is)

Tuesday, July 11:

Novelist Binnie Kirshenbaum (Rabbits for Food) and poet Peg Boyers (To Forget Venice; Hard Bread; Honey With Tobacco)

Wednesday, July 12, 7 p.m.:

A Film Night: Screening of “Tár” (with Kate Blanchett) followed by discussion with Susan Kress, Edward J. Delaney and Peg Boyers (Robert Boyers, moderator)

Thursday, July 13:

American linguist and New York Times columnist John McWhorter (Woke Racism: How a New Religion Has Betrayed Black America) and author Thomas Chatterton Williams (contributing writer The Atlantic; Self-Portrait in Black and White) followed by audience Q & A.

Friday, July 14:

Novelist Rick Moody (The Ice Storm; Hotels of North America) and novelist Adam Braver (November 22, 1963; Rejoice the Head of Paul McCartney ) at Caffe Lena, Saratoga Springs. Tickets:


Week 4

Monday, July 17:

Fictionist Francine Prose (The Vixen) and novelist-memoirist Danzy Senna (Caucasia; Where Did You Sleep Last Night)

Tuesday, July 18:

Novelist Joyce Carol Oates (Zombie; Blonde; The (Other) You: Stories) and poet April Bernard (The World Behind the World: Poems)

Wednesday, July 19:

Remembering Russell Banks (Foregone; Affliction; The Lost Memory of Skin)

Joyce Carol Oates, Nicholas Delbanco (It is Enough; What Remains), Tom Healy (What the Right Hand Knows; Velvet; Animal Spirits), Adam Braver and Robert Boyers, Payne Room, Tang Museum, Skidmore College

Thursday, July 20:

Novelist-Memoirist Jamaica Kincaid (Among Flowers; Autobiography Of My Mother; Lucy) and poet Henri Cole (Blizzard: Poems, Nothing To Declare)

Friday, July 21:

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and NYS Writers Institute founder William Kennedy (Very Old Bones; Legs; Ironweed) and Friends

The NYS Summer Writers Institute Program at Skidmore College


The NYS Summer Writers Institute was founded and is still produced by author and professor Robert Boyers at Skidmore College, with sponsorship from Northshire Bookstores and in collaboration with the NYS Writers Institute at the University at Albany.


Previous visiting writers include Nobel Prize winner Louise Glück, former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje, Pulitzer Prize winner and NYS Writers Institute Founder William Kennedy, Mary Gordon, Tom Healy, Margo Jefferson, Binnie Kirshenbaum, John McWhorter, James Miller, Caryl Phillips, Katha Pollitt, Francine Prose and Victoria Redel.

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